Ugly Sweater Contest!

Ugly Sweater Contest!

Just a reminder that you can find games everywhere.

Work ugly sweater contest! I won the “Just Too Pretty” award with a cool $25 prize.

Just-Too-Pretty

Maybe I’m a little too competitive. Can’t leave a contest/game without a go. Except for BSG.

Gaming Goals for 2015

Gaming Goals for 2015

hanabi_boxI’ve been gaming for a long time now, but I’ve never consciously set goals for gaming. I’ve never really thought about it, probably because I naturally play enough games to meet my internal expectation. But I’ve recently discovered that many people do. By people I mean gamers. By gamers, I mean gamer peeps that set goals for gaming.

What kinds of goals do gamer peeps set you ask? Well, I’ll drum up a list.

• Play 10 games 10 times each (10×10)
• Play a particular game X number of times
• Participate in X number of gaming sessions
• Play X number of games
• Play X number of new games
• Play X number of different games
• Play and Review entire collection
• Play all unplayed games in collection. Don’t buy a new game until accomplished.
• Reduce number of games in collection by X
• Play X number of Spiel des Jahres (or another contest) recommended games (or winners)
• Play all games by a particular designer
• Play all scenarios in a particular game
• Get a certain (or perfect) score in a particular game
• Paint all the figures for a particular game

Gaming Goals or Resolutions can really be about anything. Brent, my fellow podcast host, had the goal of playing 20 games 10 times each. He set this goal so that he can experience the games in more depth. Brent completed his goal at our New Years Eve bash with two quick games of both Splendor and Machi Koro.

The idea of gaming goals was interesting enough to us that we devoted a whole podcast to the topic with should go up this week. We discuss the point of gaming goals, talk about the goals above, and give our individual goals for 2015.

Brent’s 20 x 10 goal was comical for me because Brent is famous for bringing a new game to game night, introducing the game, getting us interested in playing again, and then never bring that game back, instead introducing another new game on this next appearance.

So, I’ve been contemplating what gaming related goals I would set for 2015. Obviously, we want to record, produce, and release at least 52 Meeple Nation podcasts. The idea of personal gaming goals is interesting and also a bit foreign to me. I don’t feel the need to play games a certain number of times. I don’t have a large collection to trim. I tend to get plenty of gaming sessions in, so I don’t think I need to track or force that item.

Different games and new games are both interesting choices. I feel that these will both happen naturally or maybe I just don’t care that much about reaching a certain number. I like the idea of achieving a perfect score in game that gives a score, like Hanabi, which is a nice cooperative game about putting on a firework show.

To hear my other goals and those of Brent and Nathan, check out this week’s podcast.

What about you? What goals are you going to set for the coming year? Also, if you have any suggestions for goals for our podcast or for us as gamers, please leave them in the comments. Thanks, and happy gaming.

Booster Pack Wins!

Booster Pack Wins!

I love trading card games, and I have played many, many different games over the years. The random boosters can be a turn of for some, and it is never fun to open dud packs or boxes, but that feeling of pulling “that card” from a booster pack feels so good. Today, I’m going back down Memory Lane and reminiscing on those moments of pulling “super” cards.

When the Star Wars CCG was in full swing, I was out of the country, living in Germany with limited cash and almost no time to play games, but roommate had played the game as well, so we decided to split a box of the Dagobah expansion. We decided that for the rares, that my roommate would get the Lightside rares and that I would get the Dark side. We pulled the rares without looking at them and stacked them face down in the light and dark piles. Then we flipped them over one at a time. It was going well. He got Yoda and Luke. I got stuff, but I really wanted the Executor. Finally we were at the last card. I was already feeling the disappointment, because what were the odds. We flipped the cards and the beauty of the sideways art stared back up at me. Woot! Much cheering happened.

Executor

One day I was at the card store picking up something like card sleeves so I could build another 3 or 4 decks (some of which I probably still have built today {in the same sleeves}, and I didn’t have enough money to buy a ton of packs. Still, I justified buying two packs of the Worldwake expansion to bump up my purchase amount because I was paying with a credit card and using it for $3.00 seemed silly. Well, in the car on the way home, I cracked the packs (which I shouldn’t have done while driving, but still did). No idea what was in the first pack, but waiting for me in the second was a pristine Jace: the Mind Sculptor, which was the chase rare of the set/block/year. I did a little chair dance, probably swerving my car all over the road. Score!

Jace

My best card pulled from a Booster is a Magic: the Gathering Unlimited Mox Ruby. Unfortunately, at the time, I did not know what I was opening, and I have no memory of the moment. I was never a tournament player, and the card largely stayed in my binder, but it was the crown of my collection. Unfortunately again, the card was a victim of a little flood in my basement and was damaged. Luckily, the insurance company paid me for the loss. Fortunately, the card still had some value even in its damaged state, and I was able to sell it off.

mox rubyJust recently, my friend, Thomas, and I were playing Pack Wars with boosters from the M15 Magic: the Gathering expansion. Booster Wars are where you blind shuffle land into one or two booster packs (we use two) and play a game. We split a booster box every set, and play booster wars with about half of the packs. In this game, I pulled a Soul of Innistrad, a card I was excited about and started thrashing Thomas with it, but as with all good things, it was destroyed and sat in my graveyard. I was about to use it’s ability, which can be played while it is in the graveyard, when I drew a FOIL Soul of Innistrad from my deck. I raised my fist in the air and proclaimed triumph. I played my second Soul of Innistrad to the table. Thomas had not answer, and on the next turn the second Soul retrieved the first back to my hand. Thomas was out gunned and quickly lost. We were just playing blind packs and he drew nothing useful before he died. Soul of Innistrad isn’t the best of cards or worth a ton, but I like it and loved smashing face with those dudes.

soul of Innistrad

What about you? What are your best pulls?

Skull & Shackles

Skull & Shackles

DamielAfter completing the Rise of the Runelords, our group has moved on to the Skull & Shackles adventure path. I decided to play Damiel, the alchemist from the Character Add-On Deck. He’s the one on the left in the picture above. I chose him because I like the idea of throwing alchemical bombs in a fantasy setting. On ships even.

We are only through two scenarios, but so far it is pretty much the same as the first adventure path. The inclusion of ships doesn’t add that much, so far. Maybe as we progress it will become more integral. I don’t mind playing this game in a group of six players, but I think the game shines with one or two people playing two characters. I’ve played it solo and with my 6-year-old, and the game is much more of a puzzle and adventure than with five ore six players.

We were consistently playing Rise of the Rulelords every week to get it finished, but I think now we’ll pace ourselves a bit with Skull & Shackles. I do think the game can get repetitive, but I still enjoy the time playing, mostly because of the people I play with.

Which brings me to the Pathfinder organized play that Piazo has created for use in store and at other public gatherings. This is a great way for players to enjoy the multiplayer experience without a regular play group. I myself have to be very selective with the time I spend gaming, and will probably not go store to play. There is something about playing with friends that make the experience so much better. Risking a few hours to game with a random group, however fun it may end up, just isn’t something I do often, mainly because of the chance at playing with people that might annoy me. Does that make me a bad gamer?

We Finished the First Pathfinder Adventure Path!

We Finished the First Pathfinder Adventure Path!

So, we finished. The last adventure presented some difficulties that had some players in our six-player game left with no cards at the start of their turn. The few lucky players that had cards left were able to make up the difference though, but it wasn’t the most fun packed into the half hour it took to finish.

At six players, the villains, henchmen, and largely banes do not present much of a real challenge because other players can make up the difference by playing cards to help you.

So that last adventure, had I not started with one particular card and one other player had not had one particular card might have been difficult, but we breezed through it. It was largely anticlimactic beating it so easily and gaining loot we were never going to use.

Still, it was a fun experience. What I think the game needs is some resolution for the characters sort of like the 90’s fighter video games, where when you defeat the game you get a video of what the character does afterward which is unique to each character. I wanted an epilogue for Ezren, but alas, I guess I have to make up my own. Maybe he finally embraces the gods and is allowed a blessing.

No! That’s not good. I’ll think about it. What are your epilogues for your favorite Pathfinder characters?

PZOACG0000E_500

Maybe the recently announced Organized Play will provide more closure.

Rise of the Runelords: the Last Adventure

Rise of the Runelords: the Last Adventure

pathfinder_rise_of_the_runelords_set_pack6Well, we did it. We reached the end of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords. My game group has played through the entire adventure path together (for the most part) are are ready to face the final adventure tonight. It’s strange, because this game has two very different experiences for me, the feeling of flipping over cards and facing challenges and the meta game of advancing through the game, adding new (better) cards to your deck, and checking boxes.

And it all ends tonight with one game. Honestly, we are breezing through these adventures with the final roll against the villain reaching the high 50s because everyone adds all the help cards left in their hands. The villains are actually the easiest part, at least in our group of 5 (playing with a smaller group is much tougher).

Because I was missing one adventure (a blank checkbox!) I borrowed the game and played solo, which was a much different experience for me. I don’t often play board games solo, but I enjoyed Pathfinder solo. I did have to use two characters to complete the scenario. I played a few more time with other characters, though with the all of the various decks so thin, getting a lower character anything new to add to their deck was difficult and I didn’t want to mess with changing the deck and having to change them back.

Solo, the game felt like a puzzle game. I had to figure out how to defeat certain combination with the limited resources that I had available. One time my character actually got stuck at a location because of a move condition on a location and a nasty barrier both requiring my lowest skills. I finagled some decent rolls to pass both test, but I couldn’t roll high enough to get past them.

With 5 players, generally you can get past any obstacles quickly, and the challenge level is fairly low. I guess I actually enjoyed the solo game play a bit more. Honestly, it was the meta leveling game that kept me interested in the game for so long.

After tonight, we’ll be finished with the Rise of the Runelords, but we have Skull and Shackles already waiting. I’m sure the experience will be largely the same, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I’m not sure we’ll all be itching to jump into brand new characters and start over.

If you’ve finished the Rise of the Runelords, let me know your impressions and I’ll give you mine after tonight.